A Comic Page

I want to share this time a process from concept to execution for drafting inking and coloring a full comic page. It was really exciting to me ! First, this below is the background story pf how this comic came to be:

Background————

We are a group of friends from different countries in the FB group SW Comics, (Wes, Palma, Marion, Nicholas, Mark, Jutta, Jorge (+), Beliza, Cat, Jim, Holger, Sofiya, Marco, Paula, Carlos, Jane, Amy, Juliet, Jansi, Mia.. *see full list in the link** https://issuu.com/norightturn/docs/no_right_turn_20170425) led by Rene Fijten and we make stories!

Do you know or have heard about “Exquisite Corpse”? (Cadaver Exquisito) It is a method of creation in which people take turns developing a story or a project, it is passed on from person to person to keep developing and extend the story. This is how our “No Right Turn” has been done so far.

——————you can follow us in instagram @sketchingcomics————-

So, Rene gave me this


From here I drafted a storyboard


Then I fleshed out all the characters one by one


At this point I thought I needed another detail for the narrative, one more drawing so it goes with the dialog given.


All the drawings were brought into photoshop for resizing and do a composite, with the layout in the draft I made or close enough

Then I printed it and added the background manually to the hard copy


The next thing was to incorporate thedialog  bubbles for which I used Backissues font, a free font that it’s awesome for comics! For this I used InDesign


After that I colored the hard copy


And here is the final page all completed! 🙂


Some final thoughts:

Before starting it took me a few days to think about how to bring this concept to visual. Once I had the draft the whole proces was about 8 hrs 3 hrs one day and 6hrs  today.

I think I’m comfortable with this process now!

I hope you liked it 😉

Large Scale Portrait

I worked through Christmas on a 20×30″ watercolor portrait. I rarely do life size in watercolor, my tools are selected for the scale I work the most, which is 11×14″ or 9×12″ so it was challenging to work with little brushes.

Another adjustment comes into play, being able to keep a good distance from the work so proportions are not off. For this particular job I pre-penciled, which I do very rarely. I wanted to get detail eventhough the provided image was low resolution. 

Pictures are flat and there’s camera distortion to be compensated in “selfies” working from life is easer as you can observe in 3D and go around the subject or get closer if needed.

As I wanted to experiment before doing this project I did some practice testing with materials, color, and applications as a warm up. I did one in Prismacolor (previous post), and a couple of small watercolor, both 9×12″

Here they are: (no pre-pencil) 

Given the fact that the image they gave me is low res. I decided to go for watercolor.

For the commission,  I started with the pencil phase


I followed by inking it ​



I proceeded with a first wash and corrected the jaw line, it was too wide.


The completed first wash, dried


I applied the other layers

The final work

In the end I realized that I need a big mop brush to do a more splashy background and hair, but there is always next time! 

Likeness was good and layering I think was ok. I’ll try with a more detail reference image next time, and see what I can do. 

The Arches paper is 300lb cold press which is great for layering as much as needed and good support.

I used Daniel Smith watercolors for this.

I think I learned something 🙂 and I also need to go shopping for brushes!

I have some videos of the process in my Instagram @laurasfiatcreative

Botanicals

I decided to try a new subject series: Beautiful flowers, with a little more precision than my usual sketches. 

For this series, which I plan to sell as notecards I used permanent ink and some, I colored them but I prefer black and white as the watercolor hides my lines because I like to paint heavy on the tint. I’ll try to so a softer more transparent wash next time.

Yet.. I still prefer black and white illustration. 

As usual my favorite paper Stillman and Birn notebooks and Higgins permanent ink. The platinum carbon pen is the best for fine lines and it never cloggs. I am becoming very fond of sketching with nibs too.

Here the drawings: 

Sketching People

I decided recently to start a YouTube channel, I thought tutorials are fun to do and we all contribute with our own ways to do things. I wanted this to be a fresh approach, a casual way to look at how-to’s.

I this series in YouTube (https://m.youtube.com/watch?sns=em&v=k2esXE-_VyU ) you’ll notice I refer to “Haikus” They are a Japanese poem form that totals 17 syllables in a count of 5-7-5. You will see that they may be in my videos in sets of three lines at once, or sometimes scattered through the video when the sketch is done in a shorter time.

About the process:
I rarely use pencil unless it’s a large complex drawing. Here you can see the process in a time-lapse but I will explain more below:

Step by Step:

I usually start by setting the horizon line
People Plates_1.1.1
I continue by working on the figures in focal point and near surrounding space. I used Higgins permanent ink and a fine nib and holder
People Plates_1.1.2
I try to vary the pressure here and there to have different widths of line to create a visual rhythm
People Plates_1.1.3
I then add the environmental elements, trees and foliage.
People Plates_1.1.4
I test the saturation of the watercolor prior to applying as the first wash must be very light. Fitst wash it’s the “base color”. I let this first layer dry completely.
People Plates_1.1.5
…continuing with a light wash on the rest of the elements
People Plates_1.1.6
Time for a second pass with more saturation, and only on small areas I want to draw the attention in the focal point.
People Plates_1.1.8
I like to play with different greens, not necessarily accuracy with the right green but more the right value . Also this tells the viewer it’s a separate element not part of the same group (background, mid-ground or foreground)
People Plates_1.1.7
…going for a third pass on contrast. this is the strongest saturation almost no diluted at all.
People Plates_1.1.10
…and the final sketch.
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The Boston Opera House

This weekend I went to the Boston Opera House and It’s such a beautiful interior ! I couldn;t resist to make a watercolor of it. The colors are so rich.

I did this is a Stillman and Birn sketchbook as usual. I recently got more art supplies and wanted to try my new brushes this is the Escoda Versatil #12. To be synthetic it’s a pretty good brush!

For the darks I used the pentel brush and I drew this not with my usual Lamy but a nib and holder.

I haven’t sketch in a while. I feel rusty but I think this came out acceptable 🙂

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Daniel Radcliffe

I made this portrait of Daniel Radcliffe from a black and white copy. I made up the colors using my usual palette for skin tones and Walnut ink for the hair.

My procedure for portraits is based on simplification. Drawing is not what you draw but what you leave out. I begin with a very accurate ink drawing. If the features are somehow hard to get I start with pencil first, but Radcliffe has a very distinct face that is somehow easy to do. The likeness is pretty much attained by an exaggeration of the eyebrows and getting the eyes right. The jawline is also key in this case.

As in anything, things come out better when you are in familiar territory, your usual palette, your best paper, and your favorite brushes. I particularly feel at home and use no other paper for all my work than the Stillman and Birn brand, because it absorbs washes beautifully without warping. The heavy stock is just perfect for watercolor. This Portrait was done on the Beta Series on a 9×12 notebook, Natural white, Rough Surface, Extra Heavy Weight, 180lb. When I use only Ink I usually go for the smooth surface of the Heavy Stock Zeta Series. The Beta has the extra tooth that holds the water runs better.

All my sketches are done with my favorite fine point fountain pen.

When I do portraits I try to create a rhythm of contrasts so your eye jumps from dark spot to dark spot back and forth keeping the interest in the portrait in a circular motion. The warms and cools also play a part in that rhythm. Since in this portrait most of the real state is warm, the cooling factor is the blue eyes. Eyes are the feature that we feel mostly attracted to in a face, so a very bold blue in that focal point compensates for all the warmth that is around. This cool color finds then a visual connection with another cooling color, the greenish blue of the shirt, between those two I feel I accomplished a balance and the portrait feels right. The shading in the face is done using about three layers of watercolor, allowing the first layer to dry completely.

Depending on the light source direction I start my first wash with The main skin tone. then I add the first pass of dark brown and follow with the lighter and darker skin tones once the first layer is dry. The cooling touches are at the end. The coloring process is about 15 min, The drawing part takes about 25-30 min

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I included my palette here with my regular colors that are both for landscapes and portraits. I have a special spot for skin colors as you can see, my darks and lights and my neutrals

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Here the list:

Alizarin Crimson,Cad Red Light, Orange Yellow, Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ocher, Cad Yellow Pale Hue, Pelylene green, Sap Green, French Ultramarine, Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue, Violet, Lamp Black (Lamp black is opaque and highly staining, it makes the darks really dark as opposed to the Ivory black that is a warm semitransparent black that blends better with other pigments, I personally prefer more opacity)

Gouaches: White, Beige, Pale Peach, Flesh and Jaune Brilliant (Main skin color)

On regard to brushes I always use natural hair as it holds more pigment.

Here below are some short clips that show the normal speed in which I usually work as in watercolor you pretty much work with the flow and must be a rather quick application and in every layer pass, more and more specific in small spots/areas to create contrast.


Wedding at Martha’s Vineyard, MA

On Sep 26, Saturday was the wedding we were hired to sketch at Martha’s Vineyard. It was quite an experience to have so many moving subjects and trying to chase-a-sketch! We managed to get a few done and some were colored afterwards. We got about a dozen done each of us in 4hrs.

I chose Stillman and Birn Zeta series notebooks for this, The hard stock takes the watercolor beautiful without warping. I used Koi watercolors, they are a little volatile but it is good to have scans so I can reprint them in their original color saturation.

The bride, young actress Julianna Gill (from Friday the 13) here with her little nephew and Dave Franco with fiance Allison Brie (from Madmen) are here in these sketches.

We didn’t realized who they were until a while later which helped in the sense of not being star struck while drawing!
It was quite stressful to try to sketch in so little time as many sketches as possible but I did learned a lot. On the next gig, if we have another one like this, I think I will apply watercolor off site if i have to work this fast because running with a wet tray and brushes, while holding a sketchbook a pen and a water container just… Doesn’t work!
Some sketches were very… “Accidental” *_* like the color one here, that sky is a bad spill… my tray fell over the sketch.
My friend Mia said that this was a gig that could break the most confident speedy sketcher! And yes when I saw my works I wanted to cry :I but I worked on them at home a little more, adding watercolor touches here and there. Some of them I didn’t have time to add color.

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Latest portrait Sketches

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11012065_951165904935124_3476144564064591375_nIt’s been a while since I did some watercolor portraits, so I decided to add some new to my portfolio. As usual I use Stillman and Birn notebooks in this case the the Zeta Series.

I usually work pretty fast on these, as spontaineity is key to maintain a loose efect on line and strokes.

I probably spend more time on selecting my limited palette and color composition than I do creating the strokes.

A good base drawing doesn’t need much as it sustains itself, but color excess can ruin even the best sketch

I was more happy with Dan’s portrait from all three